Before We Vanish (Sanpo suru shinryakusha) (2017)

KIYOSHI KUROSAWA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.  Japan, 2017.  Django Film, Nikkatsu.  Screenplay by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sachiko Tanaka, based on the play by Tomohiro Maekawa.  Cinematography by Akiko Ashizawa.  Music by Yûsuke Hayashi.  Film Editing by Kôichi Takahashi.  Cannes Film Festival 2017.   Three aliens come to Earth and take over human bodies, sent here on a scouting mission to get to…

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Story Of A Prostitute (Comfort Women) (Joy Girls) (Shunpu Den)

BBBB (out of 5) Seijun Suzuki combines the worst tragedies of war with its most absurd realities. Harumi is a fallen woman who was rejected by the man she loved, so she travels to Manchuria to work at a brothel that the Japanese regiment has set up for its men. She and a group of girls…

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Crazed Fruit (Kurutta Kajitsu)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Two teenage brothers go on a beach vacation with their heads chock full of all the girls they plan to conquer when they arrive.  The younger of the two spots a pretty lass at the train station who is on her way to the same resort, which means an instant coming…

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Branded To Kill (Koroshi No Rakuin)

BBB (out of 5) In this incredibly odd Japanese action movie, a psyched-out hit man becomes the hunted when he fails in an assassination job and the men who hired him want him out of the way. Strange camera angles and editing, disjointed action scenes and the main character’s obsession with sniffing boiling rice to…

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The Burmese Harp (Harp Of Burma) (Biruma No Tategoto)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Japanese soldiers fighting in World War II meet a tragic defeat on a mountain fortress in this beautifully lyrical drama by Kon Ichikawa. After the war ends, a spiritually hungry young man joins an order of Buddhist monks and treks back to the place where the unfortunate incident took place. Dreamy…

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The Pornographers (The Amorists) (Erogotshi-Tachi Yori: Jinruigaku Nyumon)

BBBB (out of 5) Perversely witty film by Shohei Imamura, about a man who makes pornographic films in an effort to support his girlfriend/landlady and her two children. His work finds him skirting the wrong end of the law, which is often a problem, plus he has a fixation on his girlfriend’s mealy-mouthed daughter while…

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Exiles (Exils)

BBBB (out of 5) Lovers Romain Duris and Lubna Azabal are French citizens who emigrated from Algeria as children under negative circumstances. In an effort to reclaim their memories and put back together the pieces of their fractured childhoods, they decide to make a trip to their homeland. Packing only a bag and travelling by foot, they…

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Vengo

BBB (out of 5) Tony Gatlif follows his popular Gadjo Dilo with another visually striking film about gypsy culture. Two families in Spain are at war with each other when a member of one kills a prominent member of the other. The murderer goes into hiding, leaving his brother to defend the rest of the…

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